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Paris votes to move “offensive” chocolate factory sign

Authorities in Paris have voted to remove a historic sign reading “Au Nègre Joyeux” from the city’s old chocolate factory of the same name, after it was branded “insulting and offensive”.

The sign, which means “The Happy Negro” and is still in place on what was the old factory building, will be removed from its current site on Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement, near the Sorbonne University, and taken to the Carnavalet Museum, which documents the history of the capital, as reported today by France24.

It will be exhibited next to a painting from the same sign, which shows a black slave or servant serving a “high society” white woman at a table.

The move comes after the Communist party in the city condemned the signs as “insulting and offensive”. The Communist councillor Raphaëlle Primet said the work was “recalling the crimes of slavery” and had no place in a modern city outside of a museum. The party has also asked for a separate museum of slavery in the city.

Councillors agreed and voted to remove the signs, but there has been no word on a separate museum yet.

Au Nègre Joyeux” was the brand name of the former chocolate factory (and some records suggest that the company also made coffee). Until their removal, both signs were in place above a normal, modern supermarket, with the building apparently also having been a music club in years gone by.

The continuing existence of the sign in its original place - until now - has regularly drawn criticism, especially in a city that prides itself on multicultural measures such as not collecting racial information on censuses.

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